Nightly News   |  April 03, 2014

George W. Bush ‘Reluctant’ to Display Paintings

After spending two years painting, former president George W. Bush says “a whole new world has opened up.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, with great thanks to our friends at the "today" show, we have a preview of a new exhibit that will open tomorrow at the george w. bush presidential library in dallas. a display of paintings of world leaders by the former president himself, having taken up painting with something of a passion since leaving office. tonight, we get our first look from the former president's daughter, "today" contributing correspondent, jenna bush hager , who spent some time with her father at the library.

>> reporter: congratulations, dad. this is pretty exciting.

>> well, it's -- yeah. who would have thought it?

>> reporter: not me.

>> not me.

>> reporter: my father's been painting for two years. he started off with our family pet, moved on to landscapes, then familiar faces.

>> i brought a painting for you.

>> you did?

>> yeah.

>> did you paint that?

>> reporter: the aspiring artist has expanded his portfolio and is making it public for the first time.

>> i was a little reluctant to put them out because i'm not a great artist. i don't want people to think i'm a great artist.

>> reporter: but you do take it very seriously?

>> i paint a lot. as you know, i'm a driven person. and i want to get better. i want to learn as much as i possibly can so long as i'm able to paint. so i've studied art for the first time in my life. a whole new world has opened up.

>> reporter: his new exhibit includes a self-portrait and paintings of more than two dozen other world leaders .

>> vladimir putin , yeah, i met with him a lot during the presidency. i got to know him very well.

>> reporter: have any of these leaders seen their portrait?

>> they have not.

>> reporter: not one?

>> not one.

>> reporter: what do you think their reactions will be?

>> i think they're going to be, wow, george bush is a painter. looking forward to seeing the stick figure you painted of me. i fully understand it creates a lot of amazement. george bush , painter? but it is -- it's a joyful experience.